Changes are a coming!

It seems everyday that we battle the amount of possessions we have. We sort, toss, organize and yet, it still seems to be overwhelming. The closet that once was empty is now filled with canned goods because we ran out of pantry space and I got tired of looking at the clutter on the floor.

11182280_388047841387911_1957805912436088008_n

But we gave some items to a relative:

10345576_388047988054563_7767972680205112286_n

And changed the area around, which has made a large impact, like our new dining table, it’s an old typewriter table, (the sides fold down and it’s on wheels so it become half that size)?

11169809_388047688054593_9003970929844134064_n

11150403_388047801387915_8345953981103375425_n

11062633_388047758054586_4905624225436774908_n

We even sorted through all our games, this shelf was just crammed, nearly to the ceiling, this is what we have left of them. We have more work to do on this shelving unit. All the discs you see are headed to become digital and then we will give them or sell them to some one else.

20212_388048061387889_2943580056864558891_n

11148508_388048098054552_4734894263242977411_n

There’s still a bit more sorting to do. We are actually contemplating a very small two bedroom where the second small bedroom is a library. We have a lot of reference materials and collections we’d like to keep. But perhaps that’s part of the issue, hard to let things go. I think in time this collection will dwindle, it’s just about taking the time to adjust to the idea then we can give it to a good home? Let’s hope. Other wise we will be living a situation just like we are now, and that will not achieve our goals!

Thanks for reading, if you have questions or thoughts, feel free to share! Also, my next post will be on tiny houses we love and hope to immolate when we get around to designing ours!

Advertisements

Paring Down Pt. 9: The Kitchen Closet and New Organization

Woah! What a chore, but it’s done!! Once my mom moves out this closet will be bare!

Before:

10291042_359262217599807_7805157623966585894_n

After:

10991156_359262404266455_1823868636139184512_n

I had a crafting box blog that was the blue tote on the third shelf. As I went through this I saw so much junk that most of it went to garage sale or trash.

Some of the items went under our new bed storage!

10959748_359262524266443_378413101404316266_n

This is the new craft box from #7 blog “Craft Box” it since has been given away to my friend.

Here’s where I keep our shoes and stuffed animals (if you look closely you can see the clear tub next to the stuffed dog, that’s my clown gear) too.

10389650_359262447599784_3526168458325602284_n

So, while we got rid of a bunch of things we no longer used or they no longer fit our life, we still had things that needed a home. We made room for them under the bed by lifting it up!

Thank you for reading and liking/sharing! Please feel free to ask questions about how we choose what to get rid of or keep!

Ciao,

Audrey

Paring Down Pt. 8: The Fabric Box

10389560_359261407599888_274980233126236433_n
After, the machine, and in the orange tub: fabric, wooden sewing box, a white box of thread and a white box of ‘extras.’

You wouldn’t think two people who don’t sew much to collect so much fabric! However, we’ve been known to sew a quilt or three in our time as well as pillows, crafts along with teaching children to sew. It also helps that my mother-in-law is a master seamstress and glorious quilt maker. She is an inspiration to us and so, we started collecting fabric in hopes to do projects with her. She’s such a joy to work with and so knowledgeable, helpful and very patient.

Before starting we had to make some tough decisions. While owning a sewing machine is on our priority list, did we really need all that old fabric? If so, why? Through our sorting we found that much of it was kept for a project we either finished or realized we honestly were not committed to actually doing. To be truthful, admitting this was very hard to do. We are passionate about so many things, it’s hard to pick and choose. But ultimately, it came down to the question, “Where do we want to spend our time?” And we decided that we want to spend our time doing projects we LOVED and we didn’t want to spend our time lugging around an anchor. So, as hard as it was we let 75% of our fabric, dream projects and hopes we had for all of it -GO… It was so relieving. I felt so much better because those undone items weighed on my mind every time I saw the sewing machine or fabric box. Now, I get to spend my time where I want to spend it NOW, not where I “hoped” to spend it a year ago. We realized that year to year our tastes and priorities change, and we have to be willing to change with it. It doesn’t make us failures, it makes us human. And we do get some projects done, but not all of them. We keep trying, and now we can enjoy working on them instead of being overwhelmed by them!

The fabric we did keep were the kinds that were versatile for many projects, mainly large pieces, or were set aside for an item we really wanted to accomplish by the end of the year. This was a great opportunity to set goals for the remaining of the year.

We started with so much, there were three different tubs, a cardboard box hiding here, another there, it was all over the house… Here are the photos of the mess we had on our hands!

10987378_359260940933268_4831631007599885734_n

10985601_359261177599911_3474087619123746915_n
Can you spot the THREE sewing baskets??

10991179_359261277599901_4286192428196984763_n

That which we tossed was so old it was too worn to be used for anything solid, it no longer had any life in the fabric. The stuff we decided to sell were things like extra quilt blocks from previous quilts we finished, curtains I had hoped to make a belly dancing skirt from, lace curtains, upholstery fabric we decided we weren’t going to actually use, all of our buttons, and yarn.

10955786_359261350933227_3769888144354416366_n
The white box was full of buttons. The fan box is full of fabrics too. This was our pile of yard sale items.

Paring Down Pt. 7: The Craft Box

As we sort through what we ‘need’ and what we ‘want’ I got to my craft box in the closet… Some things got ‘re-homed’ because they didn’t belong in it like markers and colored pencils (we have an art studio area for these items), others given away. But I did this project a few weeks ago and I’m sitting here thinking, you know honestly, I don’t think I ‘need’ anything in there.

Before:

10994261_359262254266470_5759847067882123480_n

10978671_359262320933130_1481189638889682792_n

I kept some stamps to make the usual cards: Happy Birthday, Congrats on your Wedding, Thank you, Thinking of you. But honestly, I buy them now, cheap and it’s been so long since I’ve made a card or wanted to, do I really need to keep that?? I kept some nice colored card stock, glitter glue, glue sticks, for the same purpose.

I decided to hold on to all my embroidery supplies in hopes to finish up my second ever project. A friend bought me these supplies as they decided they wanted to teach me how and I was interested. My first project was easy, my second was quite large and I’d like to finish it as there’s just a little left to do. Then I think I will be done with it. I really enjoyed it but as time went on, I realized that with the problems I have with my eyes, it’s just not good for me. Sure I could do 10 minutes at a time, but it takes about that long to pull it out and get set up! So, I’m still searching for a hobby to have in my tiny home – thoughts?

After is the clear box:

10818236_359262370933125_3785386428271233139_o

So, after this post, I’ve decided to find a new home for my craft box, keeping only what thread I need to finish that project. I have a good friend who has children interested in these things and I will pass it on to them. I do their art teaching as they are homeschooled, so it will be like donating supplies to the ‘classroom’!

I’d like to thank you sincerely for reading my blog. I know I have inspired others, which brings me such joy to know I’ve been of help to you! Who knows, without you, maybe I would have quit by now. I’d like to think not, but knowing I have people wanting to read keeps me going. It gives me a sense of accountability to keep sorting and sharing with you! Also, I love how you send me notes and news articles about tiny living and organizing to read that are really helpful to me too!

Please feel free to ‘Like’ comment or reblog! Thanks again!

Sincerely,

Audrey

Paring Down Part 6: What to do with all those photos?!

1508205_358240561035306_2719846629834279488_n

So, here we are preparing for tiny living and I have 3 totes of photos and random memorabilia. I worked on sorting it all. I started out with 3 totes of things, and got it down to 1!! I had a tote of old photos, one of photo frames and albums and a tote of random items like large photos, X-rays, used check books and empty cardboard boxes, presumably kept for a later art project.

Things I kept:

~X-rays, medical files

~Photo albums

~Picture frames (headed for garage sale)

~Photos: I only kept those where I could name who was in the picture. They also got sorted into these boxes I got at my local “Mart” store for 94cents! Larger pictures were sorted to lay flat on top in the bigger box. I sorted/categorized the photos under the following headings: wedding/honeymoon, high school, my family, Steve’s family, friends, Italy, Australia, Germany, misc. (aerial views, farms), stuff (we are artist and take pictures of things for inspiration). See pictures below:

1508177_358240617701967_2065387703834049673_n
The picture frames in the middle box are being kept to sell. They do not appear in any other pictures.
10562488_358240977701931_8903010249846863912_o
With a little tetris-ing, all this fit into the one box on the left, see above
10429311_358240717701957_3355360658697236024_n
The photos sit nicely at an angle
10996900_358240834368612_2612303538020773911_n
This is a “Shoe Box” for 94cents!!
10998902_358240871035275_6225313167467072193_n
Photo box that was full of old stuff, now being used for actual photos, large photos lay on top in this one.

Things I tossed:

~Duplicate photos

~Old receipts/paperwork (some were from 2002!)

~Broken picture frames

~Cardboard boxes

I couldn’t believe how many items we have carted from one house to the next. One of the totes had a shoe box full of random paperwork, I swear this is the stack of paperwork that was on the kitchen island in our first apartment that we swept into a box when moving into our first home in 2002!!

I even found a MRI radiology report from 2000! Which I needed in December!

This was very eye opening as it pointed to our tendency to collect, store and keep unnecessary items due to laziness or just being overwhelmed with what to do with things. And the disorganization of it all made it impossible to find that report when I needed it. So, I realized that I need to stay up-to-date with what’s in my file boxes. I don’t need anything older than 7 years old. So, now I can get rid of old direct sales receipts from the ‘at-home’ business I ran. They are in the back of my file box for safe keeping. With a little more effort and tad more attention, I can get my paperwork under control, be able to find what I need, when I need it!

The same goes for photos, it is such a relief to have them sorted. Now when I want to show off my wedding photos, or old high school pictures, I know where to find them, quickly and easily.

This was an excellent project. I do apologize that I didn’t have photos of all the things I tossed. But know that it was junk I always intended to “fix up” and use or do projects with. I carted most of it for years and I feel like it’s ok to let that go. The stress of it has been lifted, I no longer feel like a failure who didn’t get to my projects. Instead, I made room for new dreams, new possibilities!

Paring down to live the tiny life has been so liberating. Do we have lots to learn? Yes. Do we still have loads of things to sort through? Yes. But we are so much closer now than we were just 6 months ago! As our motto states, “Little by little, bit by bit, a new found freedom we WILL get!!”

Thank you for reading, if you are inspired, let me know! Please share your sorting story below and pictures really are worth a thousand words!

Sincerely,

Audrey

Tiny Life Christmas 2014

tiny christmas tree

Here it is! Finally, the long awaited Tiny Life Christmas post! We kept the tree small. It is an old fiber optic tree given to us from a family member. I loved it, the colors changed and we didn’t have to twirl it to put lights on it!

We kept the decorations on surfaces that were otherwise, white and unused. This allowed us to jazz up the house for the duration with out feeling overwhelmed.

However, I must say that the greatest thing I’ve enjoyed about tiny living Christmas, is that when it was all over, everything fit into ONE rubbermaid tub! (The tissue box is there for size reference) AND I didn’t feel like I was loosing out or sacrificing anything. It was a joyful Christmas! The less fussy decorating was much appreciated.

10523556_10155135514685441_4105638949011027051_n

This included our little snow man. The globe changes color, I LOVE this little guy!

10906111_10155135760460441_8675444332762182897_n

2 Wreaths and lights. (front door wreath not pictured)

10406670_10154983924115441_2480808291876704055_n

Decorative wooden cranberry beads and bows.

10929084_10155135562850441_6484648380384035176_n

Also, while decorating our tiny tree, we realized we had too many ornaments and some too large to go on it. This is even after we sorted through and only kept those with special meaning and those that we truly LOVE. So, we used them to decorate the rest of the house. (see cranberry beads too)

10426085_10155135562215441_8208207271812415183_n10920940_10155135561640441_5742126326915821236_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last year we made these neat fabric, restickable decorations that can go almost anywhere. They get stored on wax paper, then folded to about the size of a Christmas card.

tl1

10897934_10155135563115441_1985043027146921416_n

10898160_10155135561250441_7213140533849610687_n

And now, it’s all in that one tub! Voila! No clutter. OH WAIT… Except the wrapping paper mess….

This is what it looked like at first.

10686608_10155135521325441_810504702595538458_nTo keep it organized I put a paper bag over the rolls.

10906080_10155135527510441_3621429480911654017_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That helped it store easily onto the top of our closet shelf.

10931147_10155135547975441_1539400575084508540_n

We are working our way through all the wrapping paper and bows. Oh, how I love to decorate the packages so prettily! By time we get to actual tiny living we will have much less. We will buy only what we need and limit wrapping products to ribbon and three tubes of paper for birthday, misc (plain color) and christmas. Which we will find space for in the Christmas tub.

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this installment of Living the TIny Life. Christmas is such a big part of our cultures and traditions, it would be difficult to give it all up. I hope you’ve been inspired to pare down your things the way you would like. To only have those which make you very happy and bring you joy with out feeling a void.

Please post and let me know how you handled Christmas or would like to this year!

Sincerely,

Audrey

Trying Tiny Part 2 Making Changes

Wow! Where to start. I don’t want to overwhelm you with photos (those will come later) but we have been working on trial and error style living. This included things from using up what we already have, limiting counter space, changing behaviors and so much more.

As you saw last week in Vertical Space,  we’ve moved the towel drawers, but they got repurposed for our tea collection. We are trying to use up all that tea and get rid of the drawers permanently and stop purchasing so much! But we LOVE tea!

*We have taped the counter tops to replicate what we expect our counters to be – 18inches rather than the normal 24inches.

20141117_214530

*We set our toaster oven on the counter top to see how that will work. We have decided we want to get a Convection Oven/Microwave combo that is mounted above the stove so it wont take up the precious real estate of the counter tops.

20141117_214714

*We are also trying to change the way we do dishes to suite a one sided sink style of doing dishes by placing a tray over the other side to immolate what we plan to have. The plan is to have 1 sink tub with a dish pan inside of it. Fill the dish tub with hot,soapy water set it on the counter top, wash the dish, rinse it in the empty sink tub then put on the drying rack. (in the tiny house, the drying rack will be where the dishes are stored as well (see lower photo).

20141117_215213

 

We are thinking to have it in front of the window like the one on the left but have it as a rack, like the one on the right. The neat idea would be to have translucent, colored glass dishes so when the sun shines in, it would look like a stained glass window! I’m completely in LOVE with this idea. What reality is, I don’t know.

 

20-creative-ideas-to-organize-dishes-storage-on-your-kitchen10

dish-drying-closet-design

*We are also working on buying only what we need at the grocery store in order to get used to smaller cabinet and fridge space. The cabinets are improving but not quite where we want to be yet, as seen in, Organization, the same with the fridge. I keep adding empty boxes to the fridge to reduce the space, but we still seem to fit a bunch in there!

wpid-20141022_172517.jpg

Let me know what you think about our progress and ideas! I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading, please be sure to share, comment and start a conversation.

Sincerely,

Audrey

Vertical space

Living tiny is all about using your space wisely, this includes vertical space that otherwise goes unnoticed. I was shocked at how much counter space was saved just by adding a few extra things in my kitchen!

In true tiny living fashion, I found an old dresser drawer, courtesy of my sister, glued it up, changed the handles around and Voila! A shelf! Actually two shelves!

20141109_094040

 

So here is what the corner looked like before. Those two stacked drawers took up a lot of space!

20141109_093544

 

But by adding that shelf, it cleared up a lot of counter space! The blender base was moved to a different shelf with other like items.

20141109_093831

 

The top drawer was dish towels, the bottom drawer was dish rags. I found cleaver space under the sink by using two hooks and an old cookie bucket.
20141109_093957

Here is what it looks like now! Lots of counter space! I’m very happy with this change. The pot holders are on top of the shelf, very handy for oven use.

20141109_093945

 

By using a little creativity, I was able to open space and make a fun and usable place with out a ton of effort or materials. Once it was hung, I regretted not painting it, perhaps that will be a project for another day! I do love being able to show my monkeys.

Thanks for reading, any cleaver, space saving tips you have used? Got pictures and want to share them? Let me know and I can post them!

Sincerely,

Audrey

 

P.S.

There are two other blogs I’ve started in the last couple of weeks, check them out, if you are interested in knowing more about us and our lives! One is called, My Chronic Lessons it is about things I’ve learned through chronic illnesses: http://www.mychroniclessons.wordpress.com

The other one is a 30 day, daily photography challenge through WordPress. It is about my husband, marriage and our life together in pictures called: His & Hers in Photos: http://www.hisandhersinphotos.wordpress.com